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D.C. United breaks ground on training facility, the latest on the MLS CBA, and more: Freedom Kicks for 1/29/2021

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It’s winter, like for real winter!

Xavier Dussaq / Courtesy of D.C. United

I stayed up too late without getting to this piece, so it’s now a race between my ability to write and my body’s imperative right now, which is sleep. Let’s get into it:

D.C. United Break Ground on New Training Facility | DCUnited.com
It’s not the big ceremony anyone would have wanted (thanks covid), but D.C. United has gone from site prep to actually moving dirt at their new training facility. The Washington Spirit and Loudoun United will train there as well, with the club saying that they still plan to have it open late this summer.

D.C. United hired a new coach after a miserable season. Now it needs to find players. | Washington Post
Here’s Steve Goff with some thoughts on United’s roster, which was thin last year and currently has only one new player (homegrown fullback Jacob Greene) officially under contract. Even if United signs all of its draft picks — which is not a common roster-building strategy in MLS over the last, oh, seven-plus years — they’re still going to have a lot of work to do to improve a team that is missing a few pieces.

García Pye: “A los jugadores de la MLS les he comentado que intenten conseguir un préstamo y jugar Libertadores” | El Comercio
The Peruvian federation’s GM is getting a little worried that their national team has a lot of players in a league that hasn’t played in months, and may not actually get going at the start of April as planned. We’re not quite at “Peru demands Edison Flores and Yordy Reyna choose loans abroad over DCU preseason” stage, but it’s on at least one powerful person’s mind.

Q&A: Washington Spirit owner Steve Baldwin on team’s Qatar trip, future plans | The Athletic
There’s an awful lot in this interview: the Spirit’s plans to make sure Trinity Rodman is positioned to make the most of her potential, a clear statement that the team is shifting their focus towards northern Virginia and DC, a discussion of the team’s trip to Qatar, and much more.

Naomi Osaka is a new part owner of the NC Courage | All for XI
This was huge news yesterday, as tennis superstar Naomi Osaka bought a stake in the North Carolina Courage. It’s a major shift for a league that, like so many others in the US, is predominantly run by older white men.

Alright, now we have to eat our vegetables, a.k.a. read up on the latest in the contentious MLS CBA talks:

The good guys players have made some concessions, and have also made it abundantly clear that even though they’re the ones most likely risking their actual health by playing and traveling during the pandemic, they want to get back on the field. The deadline ownership set technically ended at midnight last night, and at the time this was written, the league hadn’t locked players out. We’ll see what happens today.

MLS CBA negotiations: What could come next after the MLSPA’s latest counteroffer | The Athletic
The details on what the players were willing to give up are in here, as well as a breakdown of all the possibilities for the coming days.

Columbus Crew signs MLS veteran, former LA Galaxy starting midfielder Perry Kitchen | Columbus Dispatch
A very familiar face around these parts has returned to the Eastern Conference, and Perry Kitchen will be reuniting with Caleb Porter (his coach at Akron way back when). I’m not entirely sure Kitchen actually fits the Crew’s style of play, but maybe they want to add a new wrinkle?

KC NWSL signs Australian midfielder Chloe Logarzo | The Blue Testament
Speaking of former midfielders that played here, Chloe Logarzo is coming back to the NWSL with Kansas City. That’s an interesting thing, because the Australian federation leaned pretty hard on its players about playing in Europe due to the schedule there giving them a season that covers more of the calendar.

However, NWSL teams in 2021 will be doing serious work for nine months this year, a major contrast to the old 7-8 month schedule that left such a long break that many players went and played an entire second season in Australia, which in turn resulted in a lot of physical and mental burnout for players who were essentially going non-stop. The addition of the Challenge Cup stretches the season out enough now where Aussies might be inclined to come back.

Japan withdraws from SheBelieves Cup, replaced by Argentina | Stars and Stripes FC
It’s a bummer that Japan opted out, though it’s probably sensible on their part, since optional international travel during a pandemic seems like an idea to avoid!

Argentina will admittedly be long-shots in all three of their games at SheBelieves, in part because their federation is still blacklisting several players (including former Spirit playmaker Estefania Banini) for speaking out about the federation’s poor treatment of women players. So that’s not great!

UWS & NISA Announce The Launch Of A Professional Women’s League | UWSsoccer.com
United Women’s Soccer and the National Independent Soccer Association are getting together with the aim of launching a professional woso league in 2022. The pyramid in the proposal actually includes that, a pro-am league one tier down, and a U20/U23 development league that would include hypothetical UWS reserve teams.

Well, that was a lot of words for someone who was supposedly sleepy, and in fact I’m no longer sleepy. Hope you all endure this blast of Serious Winter this weekend! I’m gonna go stock up on crucial provisions tonight, which is to say I’m gonna buy beer.